Q&A - Guilty to a Lesser Charge

Q&A ImageHow is it that someone can be charged with an impaired and a refusal to submit a sample and only be found guilty of driving without due care and attention? This is not right :(

Crown Counsel are lawyers who act on behalf of the Crown and are tasked with the approval and prosecution of the cases that the police investigate and send them. We hear the police side of the charges in the media, in this case impaired driving and refusing to provide a breath sample, but the driving without due care and attention result can be caused by a few things:

  1. Crown Counsel is not satisfied that a trial will undoubtedly result in a conviction on the impaired driving charges. They work out a deal with the defense counsel to accept a plea of guilty to driving without due care and attention or driving without reasonable consideration for others using the highway under the Motor Vehicle Act. Due to the circumstances the fine is often quite a bit higher than a ticket for these offences would have been.
  2. Defense counsel has convinced Crown Counsel that it is in the public interest not to charge the accused with impaired driving and to accept the plea in example 1, even though Crown Counsel is confident that they would be successful. There are sometimes acceptable reasons for doing this.
  3. The courts are so busy that the trail cannot be held in a reasonable time and a Charter challenge would result in dismissal of the case with no penalties for the accused.

Crown Counsel Policy Manual - Prosecution of Impaired Driving Charges